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Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

The Death of David Pickett

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 27, 2018

DoDP-COVER-6x9“The Death of David Pickett” is a speculative cyberpunk mystery set in 2023 San Francisco as a prequel to my 2042 near-future science fiction thriller “1% Free.”

Part-time archivist and full-time scenester Jesse Steinfeld digs deep, questioning the enigmatic death of charismatic local political activist David Pickett as urban tensions mount. While popular demonstrations occupy San Francisco’s Mission District in the name of a revolutionary “Mission Commune,” bringing the city to the brink of social insurrection, Jesse realizes nothing is as it seems in Pickett’s cryptic life and mysterious demise. The full-throttle street politics of today collide with tomorrow’s slow-motion apocalypse in this explosive tale of identity, mortality, technology, and reality in the city by the bay.

“The Death of David Pickett” is free. Here is a link to the publisher page where you can download it for free in EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and other formats. Read, enjoy, copy, and distribute far and wide. Please review on blogs, Facebook, and websites and please include contact information.

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Amazon, the Empire strikes back

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 15, 2018

Amazon has consciously cultivated the image of writer’s patron and author’s best friend. Along with the Kindle device there’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which has launched a number of new voices and sometimes allowed writers to earn decent money. Hugh Howey was discovered by serializing his novel Wool on KDP. Then there’s CreateSpace, Amazon‘s self-publishing arm which allowed authors to easily produce attractive print-on-demand analog books with digital accompaniment. And Amazon-owned Goodreads has permitted writers to promote their works through a variety of built-in gimmicks. Finally, the Amazon website had a giveaway feature which gave authors the opportunity to promote and distribute their work online to build their name and boost their presence.

All that has dramatically changed a few years ago. First KDP instituted a devious “revenue sharing” scheme to pool the sales of KDP-exclusive works and dole out a portion of the earnings to their writers. Then Amazon severely restricted the self-publishing services it offered through CreateSpace before deciding to fold CreateSpace into KDP, eliminating it altogether. Finally Amazon has recently gutted its giveaways, making it much more difficult for non-name authors to build a reputation and create a buzz for their work by using that marketing feature. Goodreads’ giveaway policy has also changed, but less drastically.

Writers who’ve ignored Amazon’s predatory, monopolistic business practices, or thought they could criticize Amazon while taking advantage of the few seemingly generous/liberal byproducts of the company’s terrible methods, are now hoist with their own petard. I went with IngramSpark and Barnes & Noble when I decided to self-publish my novel 1% Free, refusing to consider KDP or CreateSpace from the start. But I did use Amazon and Amazon-owned Goodreads to give away the Kindle and POD versions of my book. While Goodreads remains a viable if more limited way to give away analog editions of my novel, Amazon’s giveaways have become a nightmare. They no longer work for struggling authors nor for small product sellers on Amazon generally. When you make a pact with the devil…

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It’s all coming together

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 4, 2018

The best laid plans…

I’d intended to link the beginning of my campaign to digitally publish, promote, and distribute my story “The Death of David Pickett” by publishing it first through Smashwords. Well, the only way Smashwords let’s me set a publication date for TDDP is by doing a pre-order which requires that I assign the book a price. But TDDP is free, to be given away for free, and so a firm and fast publication date will be impossible. Instead, I’ll send it to Smashwords the weekend of September 22/23, with initial distribution of all digital formats starting the week of September 24. That means I’m dependent on when the manuscript gets digitally published by Smashwords through their infamous “meat grinder” software.

Meanwhile, I’ve created useable EPUB, MOBI, AZW3, PDF, and DOCX files through Scrivener and Calibre and plan to construct my publisher’s download page by next week. I’ve investigated 90+ digital sites—blogging communities, document sharing sites, ebook publishing/syndication platforms—and created viable accounts on the 80 or so promising ones through which to upload my digital files. I’ve already joined a dozen science fiction and cyberpunk Facebook groups and I’m now posting regularly to them in anticipation of promoting and if possible uploading TDDP to them.

The one remaining task that I still need to do is build a MailChimp email list out of the 2,000+ addresses I’ve scrounged together to do a mass advertising email blast. Part of that will be a 150 analog snail-mail-out culled from the various Goodreads POD book giveaways I’ve done. And I’m still debating purchasing an email list from Kirkus Reviews.

All of these efforts are targeted to directly promote and distribute TDDP and indirectly advertise my novel 1% Free. TDDP is a prequel to 1% Free, so everything I’m doing is designed to hit both. The downloadable TDDP itself—the various digital files—provides links through which to purchase 1% Free.

It’s all coming together.

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Digital construction report

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 16, 2018

The digital construction is almost done. I have EPUB, MOBI, and two PDF (5.08×7.8 ppbk and 6×9 trade) files from the Scrivener compiler, and AZW3, LIT, MOBI, and PDF files from running the Scrivener EPUB through Calibre. I completed the Smashwords template and will be scheduling its upload after I examine the publishing requirements for PublishDrive. I’ve paid to upgrade my WordPress website to business and downloaded a plugin to let me host ebooks. By the end of August I’ll thoroughly investigate and log onto 90 some digital sites—various blogging communities, document sharing sites, ebook/POD publishing platforms, ebook syndication, and facebook groups—to host or link to the files. I’ll also be putting together a MailChimp mailing, perhaps augmented with a mailing list purchased from Kirkus Reviews, to promote all my product. I’m on schedule to launch heavy on my digitial book “The Death of David Pickett” by the end of September.

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The business of writing

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on August 7, 2018

The compulsion and craft of writing has taken backstage to the logistics and business of writing lately. I recently completed a book giveaway of my novel 1% Free through Goodreads under their new giveaway policy to encourage average readers to review it on social media. Reader reviews on social media is what drives successful self-publishing these days. Plus, whenever I advertise a giveaway I sell more books. Creating and distributing my digital and pdf ebooks for my story “The Death of David Pickett” is next on my “to do” list. That means, first, getting the right tools and learning how to use them. I use a word processing program designed for writers called Scrivener, which has a built-in compiler that allows users to create ebooks, pdf’s, and other digital media. I purchased a Scrivener for Dummies book and managed to create a few preliminary digital documents that will need to be refined before I publish and distribute them online for free. I also plan to publish TDODP for free on Smashwords. In order to accomplish that I first piggybacked onto the owner/subscriber of an MS Word license so I could use that software. Smashwords offers a style guide and a word template to publish ebooks and pdf’s on their site, which I’ve downloaded. I just finished putting together the MS Word document to submit to Smashwords once I’m ready to make the story available in digital form. I’m scheduling the release of TDODP for the end of September/beginning of October. Digital construction is hard work.

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Writing notes

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 19, 2018

I purchased an ISBN for my soon-to-be-self-published free book “The Death of David Pickett.” In theory, I should have a different ISBN for every format I intend to publish TDODP in, but I can’t afford that. So instead I’ll use it for the pdf ebook version which will be the most widely distributed. In setting up and registering the ISBN, there’s a place to add a description of the TDODP project. It’s a perfect opportunity to do a little self-promotion. I just finished the description this morning.

I’m also starting a new column today. I’ve been taken aback that my wife, my friends, everybody I know is pissed that I’m not more pissed off about Trump. Just yesterday I got into an argument with an individual who is obsessed with how evil he thinks Trump is and who was livid that I didn’t share his personalized outrage. My response, in column form, will be about how in my lifetime I’ve seen this nation’s relatively liberal politics go steadily rightward and downhill to the present.

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Conspiracy vs reality

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 11, 2018

I finished another column for MRR. I start off debunking conspiracy theories that all ultimately circle back around to blaming “the Jews” for the world’s problems as well as a secret plot for global domination. I go on to call out the real rulers of the planet–capitalists and capitalism–which is neither a secret nor a conspiracy. Now I’m back up to where I like to be, with 2 timely and 2 not-so-pressing columns in reserve, and 20 days ’til the end of the month. Enough time to write yet another column, if I decide to do so.

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Heavy digital construction

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 7, 2018

The past few days I’ve been learning how to create ebooks and pdf documents using a word processing program tailored for writers called Scrivener. It’s built-in compiler seems to work well, aside from a few glitches which I’m gradually working through. Troubleshooting is a snap thanks to the internet, plus I ordered a Scrivener for Dummies book as an analog backup. Along with Calibre, which permits easy document editing and conversion to other digital formats, I have all the tools I need to construct multiple digital downloads of my book “The Death of David Pickett” for wide distribution. It’s heavy digital construction.

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Switching gears

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 30, 2018

Here’s the final illustration for the cover to “The Death of David Pickett” by Jon Hunt. Check out his great website. The writing, rewriting, editing, and copy editing of TDDP are finished, but it’ll take me three more months to put together the digital “book” and the logistics for its release.

I’m moving on to my next writing project, the science fiction novelette I was working on five months ago when I switched to TDDP. At the time, when I decided to convert the original bones of TDDP into the prequel to my novel, 1% Free, I’d judged that the novelette would take a lot of work to complete. Too much work and time to use it in any promotional/publicity campaign for my novel. With TDDP in place for that purpose, now I’m writing on the novelette. Currently, it’s at 18,000 words, just on the edge of being a novella. I’ve mapped out three new sections that should expand the story, taking me well into novella territory (17,500-40,000 words) and perhaps even into novel length if the writing goes well. Just yesterday, I finished a particularly tricky bit of story universe exposition, so I’m feeling good about my progress and prospects. This will be a writing weekend.

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Close to final, and stunning

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 21, 2018

Three stunning images for my “The Death of David Pickett” cover art by Jon Hunt. One is final art without tone, the other two show options for slightly different type placement.

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